Douglas Scott Gilliland
1950 - 2020
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Gilliland, Douglas Scott
Jun 9, 1950 - Oct 11, 2020
Douglas Scott Gilliland (70), beloved husband, father, brother, brother in-law, uncle and friend to many, passed away peacefully at home on Sunday, October 11th surrounded by family and his three faithful pooches. Doug fought a courageous 7 1/2 year battle against metastatic cancer, never complaining and always continuing to pursue his passions.
Douglas was born in South Bend, Indiana, in 1950, to the late Richard C. and Emilie I. Gilliland. The family, including four children, moved to Sarasota in early 1953. The clan, which would eventually include four more children (six boys, two girls) grew up on a then quiet Crescent Beach on Siesta Key. This was where Doug developed his love of the water, including fishing, sailing, and surfing.
Doug married Deborah Jeanne Rupprecht on February 18, 1984 in Sarasota where they both grew up. They had two sons, Taylor and Carson, and spent many wonderful family vacations camping and enjoying the outdoors. He instilled in them a love and respect for nature and an appreciation of the role science plays in everyday life.
Doug graduated from Riverview High School in 1968 and from USF in 1972 with a degree in Social Science Education. At 22, he became the first, and only, male social worker in the State Family Services Unit in Sarasota. Doug later spent 40 years as a teacher in Sarasota County, a career he loved. He was twice selected as Teacher of the Year at Sarasota High where he taught Physical Science. He was recognized by the School Board as a Model Classroom Teacher and was designated a High Tech teacher. He was one of the first teachers to extensively use computers in the classroom and authored his own educational software that was adopted by many others. It is a testament to his passion for teaching that he often heard from former students who credited him with inspiring them to follow careers in science.
Doug was an avid kayaker. He loved being on the water in one of his many boats and shared his enjoyment of the sport with family and friends. He was a former President of the Florida Sea Kayaking Association and enjoyed organizing kayaking adventures for others to join. He was highly regarded in the kayaking community not only for his skills but also for his friendliness and willingness to help others develop their paddling abilities.
Doug was also an inveterate animal lover. In 2011, he began volunteering as a dog walker at the Sarasota County Animal Services shelter. In 2013 he was named Volunteer of the Year by the Sheriff's Office. He, his sister, Gail, and other volunteers formed LEAD SRQ, a not- for-profit organization whose mission is to provide behavioral and/or medical support to rescued and shelter animals. While facing cancer in his own life, Doug was also a Hospice Pet Therapy volunteer. He and his therapy dog, Colby, brought much joy to patients over the years until he became a Hospice client himself in April.
Doug was preceded in death by his parents and brother Scott. Left to cherish his memory are his wife of 37 years, Debi, his sons Taylor of Washington, DC, and Carson of Lincoln, NE, brothers Gregg (Connie) of Tampa, Kim (Patti), Gary (Vikki), Mark (Noel), sisters Ann Duncan and Gail Balkwill (Bill), all of Sarasota, and his dogs Colby, Bella and Harry. He will be missed by many extended family members and dear friends. A Celebration of Life will be held at a later date when it is safe to do so. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to LEAD SRQ, 1650 Keely Lane, Sarasota, FL 34232 or Tidewell Hospice, Philanthropy Dept., 5955 Rand Boulevard, Sarasota, FL 34238. Funeral arrangements by Your Traditions Funeral Home.

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Published in Herald Tribune from Oct. 16 to Oct. 18, 2020.
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Memories & Condolences
Guest Book sponsored by Your Traditions Cremation and Funeral Chapel
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8 entries
October 20, 2020
Great man and a super human being. You will be missed.
Edwin Watts
October 18, 2020
A wonderful teacher and role model that did far more than teach science lessons. Mr. Gilliland inspired students to wonder, work hard and persist and be a good person to others.
Graciela Noriega Jacoby
October 18, 2020
Doug was the big smile push on let’s do this kind of guy, we caught rainbow trout in Montana and he whips out a backpack pan and cooker and we ate Lakeside that day. He never gave up on anything or anyone and that showed in the man he was everyday. He will be missed by so many friends, family and students that knew him.
Michael Downs
October 18, 2020
Doug, you were an amazing human being, and a wonderful teacher filled with patience and humility. You will be missed.
Mary Taylor
Mary Taylor
October 18, 2020
A wonderful person that I had the privilege to get to know during my year at Sarasota High School in 1978-79. I last met him in 2015, when I visited Sarasota with my daughter Amanda, and I’ll cherish his memory with great love.
Per Soderblom
October 18, 2020
Exceptional Man who thoroughly enjoyed life itself...Sending our condolences to the entire Gilliland family at this time..
Kathy O'Brien and family
October 17, 2020
Doug was a great guy. He was so much fun to be with on the water.
Rick McDonald
October 16, 2020
Doug was an amazing friend, colleague for nine years that I taught at Sarasota High School. A brilliant creative mind that always put the students first. His advice, many discussions and collaborations made me a better teacher and person. I will never forget his stories. An amazing father of two boys who her cherished ore than life. Having the pleasure of teaching both boys and watch them grow into amazing men. He will be missed dearly and I will never forget him. Thank you Doug and kayak down those rivers in heaven my friend
William Shelley
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